My name is Abby and I first became involved with the epilepsy foundation several years ago. You might ask why I became involved though. Well, I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy my freshman year of high school. I had no idea what epilepsy was. I had never experienced a grand mal seizure. My first thought was that everyone had their something and this was my something. I had no idea what I was in for.
Quickly, I started having grand mal seizures and I was just trying to figure out my body and all the changes I was going through. I had seizures multiple times a week and even several times in a day. I tried multiple medicines over this time and had zero luck. It was discouraging and this was when my mom began reaching out to our local affiliate for support and to gain more knowledge. Our motto was always that your doctor can only do so much. The more knowledge we have the more we could work as a team to help get me healthy! My senior year of high school in April was my first year seizure free.
It was a long few years with ups and downs but I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I could use all of my experiences to help others who are going through those struggles I had dealt with. This was when I really got involved and started working with my local hospital and affiliate to connect with other young people. I wanted them to know that no matter what they might be struggling with right now there was that light for them too. They could overcome and do anything they put their minds to.
Had it not been for my parents supporting me and telling me this I don't know I would be where I am now. I recently graduated college and now have a job doing what I love. This April marks my 5th year being seizure free. I have been so blessed in these past few years working with the National Youth Council. My goals are just to inspire and encourage young people not to let their diagnosis of epilepsy to define them. Had I not had people push me to believe I was capable of anything I might not be where I am today. It has not always been easy to push through, but I am proud that I never gave in to the struggles.
Though every person with epilepsy has different experiences, we are all connected in a way that is almost indescribable. I wouldn't trade my diagnosis for anything because it has given me the ability to meet amazing people and make a difference. Some people may not understand how I could say that, but I have met many people through the epilepsy foundation who totally understand! I look forward to continuing my work with the epilepsy foundation and helping young people take control of their diagnosis. Hopefully, we can not only help people who are diagnosed but those who know nothing about epilepsy.
It is so important that not only do we help those with epilepsy learn more and do well but that we educate others. I had no idea what epilepsy was. I was thankfully young enough that I did not have any stigmas about it. I was just oblivious to it period! I want to change not only that but the stigmas that come along with it! There is so much to do and be done and that is why I became involved. I can't rely on others to do a job so important to me and so many others. I realized we all must do our part.
Having been blessed with my health for these past five years I have realized that I can do so much to help raise awareness and get rid of the stigmas surrounding the word epilepsy. Also, I can connect with so many amazing people. My profession is a elementary school teacher and I am truly someone who loves teaching. That is why I became involved. I knew I could teach, inspire, and educate people. All of those are what my day-to-day job entail. I hope this helps you know a little bit about me and why I am so connected to this cause. Stay tuned for more from me and several other great people with different reasons for being involved but one common goal! We want to educate and inspire people all while learning new things ourselves!